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3:20 – A Time of Shock! True Identities Revealed to One Another

Alternative Title: It Was Obvious

First Aired: 24th September 1994

Minako and Usagi shocked

Minako becomes concerned over the fact that every one of the other Inner Senshi has been targeted for their Pure Heart by the Death Busters – except for her. This soon becomes an obsession over whether or not she is really “pure”, and enters manic mode in an attempt to get targeted. Meanwhile, the barriers between the Inner and the Outer Senshi are soon to be put to the test…

I love this episode. I love it so much. For one, it sets up the fulcrum point of the entire series, but aside from the drama towards the end, it’s another great episode with Minako.

After knocking the ball out of the park with her feature episode earlier in the series, this one showcases Minako’s complete self-conciousness, mania and obsession like no other. And I completely believe it of her character. She’s so brilliantly sanctimonious while being utter self-serving.

Also it looks beautiful. And it’s just so darn funny.

The episode opens with Eugeal on the phone to the Professor (as usual) but this is slightly different. She begins by asking about a strange shadow that appeared amongst the data for the Grail. This shows me a couple of things:

1) they have no idea how computers work, which is OK because it serves to make everything feel more magical, and 2) creepy stuff is going down.

"404? What the hell is a 404?"

“404? What the hell is a 404?”

The Professor calls this the “user of the Grail” – that this could either be the prophet of the Death Busters, who will bring the ruination to the Earth they desire (for some stupid ass reason), or the Messiah, who will, you know, Deus Ex Machina all the bad shit away.

"Can someone help me out? I can't find the light switch"

“Can someone help me out? I can’t find the light switch”

This is already a very cool opening. I loooooove the mythos of this series, all the pseudo-Christianity, the mystical and vaguely threatening imagery, even from that which is meant to save us.

Damn. I wish all deities were this... uh... easy on the eyes.

Damn. I wish all deities were this… uh… easy on the eyes.

The Professor is so wroth thinking about the Messiah defeating them that he gets a little carried away, as usual, leading him to rather impressively crack his phone.

I love his dead-pan reaction – he thinks  he’s gotten away with the goof, until Eugeal calls him out on it and warns him that she’s taking the cost out of his paycheck.

"I said I'm cancelling my Comcast subscription for the 40TH TIME."

“I said I’m cancelling my Comcast subscription for the 40TH TIME.”

I… have so many questions about that joke, but let’s just laugh and move on.

The girls, meanwhile, are doing what they’ve been doing all series and studying for their exams. For a nice change, however, Usagi is extremely happy, having completed a tough test in record time.

As if you believed this could have lasted long.

Hey, maybe she's an idiot savant. You never know

“Hey look I coloured inside the lines! Yaaaay!”

Ami points out the mistakes fairly easily. Usagi, naturally, cries like a typhoon.

This rather irks Rei for the first time. I don’t mean in that shouty-bitchy Rei way (which I love, incidentally), but in a rather indignant way. Looking rather severe, she asks Usagi to compare the pain of failure to that which she experienced when her Pure Heart was ripped out.

All the girls solemnly agree that this pain was just awful…

…and the look Minako gives is the dirtiest fucking look. I love it. It’s amazing. It’s that “these people are trying to rub their tragedy in my face” look. I wear it often.

If any one of the Senshi were going to go insane and murder all their friends... I know where my money would be

If any one of the Senshi were going to go insane and murder all their friends… I know where my money would be

Minako, in her uniquely Minako-ish way, manages to turn the entire situation into one revolving around herself. She slumps off to a park with Artemis and wonders why she hasn’t been targeted yet.

Very clever shots here today. The animators are actually thinking about where the camera is

Very clever shots here today. The animators are actually thinking about where the camera is

I would think that the answer is obvious. At least it is to Artemis.

I love the voice actress for Minako. Her voice when Artemis suggests that she isn't 100% pure is amazing

I love the voice actress for Minako. Her voice when Artemis suggests that she isn’t 100% pure is amazing

You have to feel impressed about someone who is wondering why a painful tragic attack hasn’t yet happened to her, in an entirely wistful tone of voice.

Minako is apparently not over her crisis from that previous episode – while not related exactly, this sense of aimlessness, of self-doubt, is the same one that she experienced before. It’s a really fleshed-out and incredibly human aspect of her character.

We get another scene of Minako playing volleyball and looking bad-ass as heck, naturally. She’s apparently trying to capture… something… that she felt in her life before. I love these shots.

Nothing like slapping a few balls to get rid of some pent up frustration. Ahem.

Nothing like slapping a few balls to get rid of some pent up frustration. Ahem.

Even better, Minako accidentally knocking Usagi to the ground with a ball to the face is beautiful, especially when Usagi pretends that nothing is wrong, being more concerned about Minako.

Seriously though, her face.

"Oh yeah I'm fine. More importantly, how are you and could you call an ambulance?"

“Oh yeah I’m fine. More importantly, how are you and could you call an ambulance?”

Artemis has apparently told Luna and Usagi about Minako’s insane worries about not being attacked by a Daimohn yet, and rather then allaying Usagi’s fears… that old mania has once again reared it’s head.

Every single scene is perfect here. There’s almost too much to talk about. The writing is the funniest it has ever been.

Minako getting dark thoughts

Next up in the Minako-procrastinates-to-forget-about-her-troubles retinue is a claw game… for frankly disturbing prizes. I have no idea why she would keep playing for these, I imagine it’s only for bragging rights.

I love Usagi’s face all the while, of mild concern.

Japanese crane games have actual good prizes in... so I can't figure out why she's playing this one

Japanese crane games have actual good prizes in… so I can’t figure out why she’s playing this one

Every time Usagi and Luna begin to think that maybe they’re over-analysing Minako’s behaviour… she falls into a rather worrying monotone grumble about not being pure.

This is all leading up to some very questionable behaviour from Minako, but they do a brilliant job of setting it up. She’s lost the plot in a way extremely befitting her character. Great writing, great humour, great art.

I laugh out loud every time Luna asks her if she’s seriously considering getting herself targeted by the enemy… only for Minako to have the most incredibly guilty expression on her face. Yeah, she’s straight up been thinking about getting attacked.

"My master plan to get myself attacked for not particular reason is FOILED"

“My master plan to get myself attacked for not particular reason is FOILED”

Usagi’s frantic attempt to physically shake the insane death-wish out of Minako causes, rather remarkably, every one of the gross arcade-dolls to get caught in the claw machine. Hot damn! Pay dirt! What are the odds!

Their reactions of "...no way..." makes me laugh uproariously every time

Their reactions of “…no way…” makes me laugh uproariously every time

With Artemis and Luna still hammering on and on about Usagi having a Pure Heart but still being an idiot (poor Usagi!) and how the enemy must be blind not to see her purity (they obviously suspect she’s going to do something incredibly stupid, and she will), Minako pauses.

You get this sense that she's about to get super emotional and serious on us...

You get this sense that she’s about to get super emotional and serious on us…

There’s a long dramatic moment where Minako, looking incredibly serious, turns to Usagi with what looks like an important request.

Could you talk half of these?

Everything comedic is on top form today. This is one of the funniest episodes in the show

Everything comedic is on top form today. This is one of the funniest episodes in the show

So! Is Minako really over her weird self-conciousness? Nah, of course not. She goes to the book store looking for material on what makes a hear pure. This is very weird… I really don’t think any book shop is going to stock something like that…

Oh but I’m totally wrong. She seems to have found something. Giving some of the most unfortunately-time advice in the universe, the stupid book reads, “A Pure Heart: a heart that deeply focuses in on one thing at a time…

"That's when I realised I DID have a Pure Heart - it was a heart of PURE EVIL" Nerds, name that quote!

“Believe me, my heart is EXCEPTIONALLY pure. Pure EVIL.”
Nerds, name that quote!

But Minako gets cut off before she can read anything helpful by Haruka and Michiru, looking cool as fuuuuck just hanging out in a bookstore.

Oh nothing to see, just two cool as fuck ladies in a book store

Oh nothing to see, just two cool as fuck ladies in a book store

The double take they both give as they see the title of Minako’s book, “PIUA na Kokoro” (Pure Heart. Such a subtle title,) is beautiful.

I LOVE this look. There's something so strangely alluring about it, especially since they wear the same look

I LOVE this look. There’s something so strangely alluring about it, especially since they wear the same look

I really like this scene. Minako begins to ask about Pure Hearts, and obviously Haruka and Michiru are thrown of as crap – they really don’t suspect Minako of being involved in the situation they’re in in the slightest.

There’s some great, stupid humour here as tension begins to build, and Haruka and Michiru are terrified, expecting Minako to begin talking about the T-T-T-Talisman… before she ends the sentence innocently asking about being a pure person.

Another great angle. Good job, animators. It's the top team, naturally

Another great angle. Good job, animators. It’s the top team, naturally

Silly, yes, but with Haruka and Michiru’s dignity, the absurdity of the joke plays off.

After Michiru says the first thing on top of her head “Do good things for others,“… Minako gets a very dangerous look in her eyes… right about the time a blood donation van is outside calling for volunteers.

"Let the blood letting COMMENCE"

“Let the blood letting COMMENCE”

You can see where this is going a mile off.

Haruka and Michiru, mollified that they were being jumpy, begin to walk off set to the familiar romantic music and dramatic freeze-frame…

"Hey you guys, quit being so goddamn cool. You're making me look bad."

“Hey you guys, quit being so goddamn cool. You’re making me look bad.”

…when Minako suddenly interrupts with one more thing: “TAKE THESE! As tokens of my thanks.

Haruka’s pitiful “…I don’t want this,” makes me laugh so hard.

How could you say no to that face, though. I love how she runs away before they can object

How could you say no to that face, though. I love how she runs away before they can object

...burn them.

…burn them.

SO. Minako gives all her blood. This seems like a sensible plan. I’m sure she’ll donate proportionately and for the good of others rather than as a selfish act.

Eugeal, meanwhile, has found her next target: as she calls it, “The owner of a Pure Heart type that I can’t yet figure out...”, and I can think of no better description for Minako than that. It’s perfect. Yeah, I have to agree she’s as pure as the other girls… but I have no idea in what way… she’s purely insane?

"I've found a Pure Heart that appears to be taking massive amounts of cocaine."

“I’ve found a Pure Heart that makes Michael Jackson look normal”

On a serious note, I’ve commented before that Minako’s behaviour reminds me inexorably of typical bipolar depression, from extremes of inflected melancholy to mania to the point of self-destruction. I’m not saying it’s remotely accurate, or that the writers were trying to characterise Minako that way, but… I think the comparisons are there to be made if you look hard enough.

Which I do. Every time.

The Professor attempts to create a perfect Daimohn to prevent the Sailor Senshi interfering this time… and after a brief, pointless struggle with trying to get an entire door into the Daimohn Oven… saws it off and just sticks the lock mechanism in.

"Wait, let me throw in my recycling, I can't be bothered to wait until Monday's trash pick-up"

“Wait, let me throw in my recycling, I can’t be bothered to wait until Monday’s trash pick-up”

Such a throw-away joke, but I love it. This episode is so good, you guys.

Minako is now apparently running across town, in sanctimonious self-aggrandising smugness, donating blood in every place she can. Apparently they’re severely short of whatever blood type Minako is, because all the nurses are ignoring the inevitable bruising and puncture wounds on the inside of Minako’s arms.

And for the record… Minako’s blood type is B.

…Oh, shut up. I just know for some reason, OK?

"Oh no I haven't been giving blood today, these are... heroine lines, yeah."

“Oh no I haven’t been giving blood today, these are… heroine lines, yeah.”

In the next scene, we find out from a conversation between Usagi and Mamoru that Minako has been at this… for days. She’d be dead. Also, he friends are terrible for not strapping her to a chair. It’s for her own good, OK?

Mamoru’s advice? The advice from the Future King of the Entire Fuckduck Planet? “Just stay by her side in case an enemy attacks her. And make sure she gets proper nutrition

You. Complete. Moron.

"...and if that doesn't work, can I have her stereo?"

“…and if that doesn’t work, can I have her stereo?”

Meanwhile, the other girls are still discussing whether or not they should try to stop Minako killing herself by donating blood. The answer is, in fact, yes, but these guys are also more worried about the Pure Heart side of things rather than -actual- medicine.

I sound like I’m being critical. I’m not. I love how eccentric the writers have become, acting as though donating blood several times in a day, over the course of several days, is completely doable, unless you get attacked by a monster.

It’s charming! Sort of.

Artemis is the only who voices what we’re all thinking:

Is Minako, who is running around donating blood for her own Pure Heart, really pure?

"She's... pure something."

“She’s… pure something.”

First of all Artemis, I’m glad you asked. It’s a very pertinent question. The answer is no.

The pained reaction of the others says it all, really. After a looooooooong pause, where they watch Usagi giving Minako vitamin drinks (in the hope that her goddamn bone marrow will kick into overdrive!?), they all start furiously agreeing on how PURE she is, most definitely, without a shadow of a doubt.

Definitely…

And FINALLY Minako gets her wish – Eugeal blasts her heart right out without a pause.

"It's kinder just to put her out of her misery."

“It’s kinder just to put her out of her misery.”

"FINALLY. This tastes like crap, by the way."

“FINALLY. This tastes like crap, by the way.”

Now, this is the moment, normally, when the targeted collapses to the ground, unable to maintain conciousness without their Pure Heart. Something rather different happens here, as we enter a goddamn horror film.

Oh... oh dear lord... is she going to start spewing green demon vomit?

Oh… oh dear lord… is she going to start spewing green demon vomit?

Something about Minako is… very, very off. She remains standing, grasping her Pure Heart in triumph… and giggling like a monkey. It’s so incredibly strange and freaky. Yet it completely fits.

Usagi obviously wants to get it back inside of her, but in her completely insane head Minako refuses to hand it over, running off from both Usagi and a very vexed Eugeal who has no idea what the fuck is going on either.

"Heeey buddy... maybe we don't drop a couple tabs of PCP in the afternoon?"

“Heeey buddy… maybe we don’t drop a couple tabs of PCP in the afternoon?”

Minako is thus so incredibly weird that she defies all medial science and magical lore. That’s my girl.

Crazy Heartless Monkey Minako, hunched over like something rather inhuman, runs into an underground parking lot. The last time were in one of these things this season, things did NOT go so well. I wonder if this is a call-back or purely accidental. Why do so many major events happen in car parks this season?

Eugeal has given chase in her white station wagon, to find a thankfully passed out Minako. I suppose her psychotic break could only give her so much running power.

Well, she died happy at least.

Well, she died happy at least.

Eugeal is interrupted by Usagi… who has not yet had a chance to transform. Uh oh. And Haruka and Michiru have also made it into the parking lot. Untransformed.

Why don't we ALL just not transform ever again?

Why don’t we ALL just not transform ever again?

Uh-oh. It’s almost as thought they’re setting up for a big reveal today. They have to resort to a few plot holes normally resolved in other episodes. Today we’ll just have to accept the conceit that everyone is far too rushed to bother transforming just at this very moment.

The lock Daimohn that the Professor created earlier has the rather worrying name of Doorknobudaa… and I love her. I’m sorry, guys, but this is my favourite character of all time across all universes. She’s ace.

This is what happens if you shove a door knob inside an evil magic oven, apparently

This is what happens if you shove a door knob inside an evil magic oven, apparently

She’s the lock expert, completely sealing the entire parking lot in a matter of seconds with thick metal barriers… which means that Usagi is now stuck inside with Eugeal, Doorknobudaa, Minako… and Haruka and Michiru, still waiting for their chance to grab the Pure Heart.

Usagi has an agonising moment – not as well done or dramatic as the one where she transformed in front of Mamoru for the first time – but we feel her determination to save Minako’s life.

"HEY GUYS LOOK OVER THERE! Moon Prism Power..."

“HEY GUYS LOOK OVER THERE! Moon Crystal Power…”

I wish they had dwelt on this moment a bit more, as they did with Mamoru, but you can’t have everything I suppose.

Poor Eugeal can’t catch a break, can she? She locked herself in with the three toughest Senshi out there.

"OH MY GOD but yeah I can totally see it now. Gosh, we're super dumb for not seeing it."

“OH MY GOD but yeah I can totally see it now. Gosh, we’re super dumb for not seeing it.”

Sailor Moon, all glammed up and ready to punch Eugeal’s face in, shows no regrets for transforming. I love that Haruka’s reaction is “so it was her after all!” – as IF you had a goddamn clue.

Eugeal immediately orders Doorknobudaa to kill Sailor Moon… and receives a confused look in response. Apparently Doorknobudaa is a genius at sealing rooms up, but she sucks in combat. Also, self-confidence. Poor thing. I love her.

Doorknobudaa attacks Sailor Moon with a “Door Knob Reluctance Attack!” where she just sorts of runs into her… and of course, it works, since Sailor Moon is even more shit at combat.

See? She's not so shit after all! She just needed confidence to push Sailor Moon's boobs into her back

See? She’s not so shit after all! She just needed confidence to push Sailor Moon’s boobs into her back

Eugeal moves towards Minako’s Pure Heart YET AGAIN and YET AGAIN she’s interrupted… this time by the most ugly of dolls.

"Can you throw something more attractive at me? That thing sucks."

“Can you throw something more attractive at me? That thing sucks.”

…and Sailor Neptune and Sailor Uranus.

Yaaaay it’s all out in the open! Now we can all be friends, right? Right!?

Really digging all of this. I love this weird little fight, with the woeful Doorknobudaa, and the dramas thrown in for good measure.

Meanwhile, Eugeal’s life is rapidly becoming even more shit, as the remaining three Senshi outside are throwing attacks at Doorknobudaa’s handiwork, and are slowly breaking through the steel barriers.

"You know there's a doorbell, guys?"

“You know there’s a doorbell, guys?”

Speaking of which, after she gets her face smushed in by a Deep Submerge, Doorknobudaa is begging Eugeal to let her go, since she’s really awful at fighting. Eugeal however, has an ace up her sleeve…

"Dude you gotta help me out, these chicks are totally OP."

“Dude you gotta help me out, these chicks are totally OP.”

Sailor Moon fires off one great Moon Spiral Heart Attack at Eugeal! Never seen this before. Eugeal, however, simultaneously pulls out a huge goddamn flame-thrower, screaming “WITCHES EUGEAL FIRE BUSTER“.

You can't use magic when you're burning to death

You can’t use magic when you’re burning to death

Makes sense.

Apparently this thing is so powerful that it actually deflects the Moon Spiral Heart Attack! Wow, golly gosh that’s some powerful stuff… has no one thought of attacking Sailor Moon with conventional weaponry yet?

…and of course the attack gets deflected into poor frightened Doorknobudaa. So long, my love.

Eugeal isn’t done. I have to admit I like that she’s managed to one-up the good guys, but she really should have taken the chance and murdered every last one of them with cleansing fire.

"Hahaha nothing can go wrong now! I'm invincible! Let me explain why I'm invincible with these handy pie charts and- OW"

“Hahaha nothing can go wrong now! I’m invincible! Let me explain why I’m invincible with these handy pie charts and- OW”

Ahem. Anyway, she gathers all the Senshi in a group with the threat that she’ll burn Minako, unconscious on the floor, alive.

…which is when Minako hits Eugeal with the entire horrible bag of those disgusting dolls. They saved the day! Yay for them I guess? They’re really gross…

I love this running gag. Such a good pay-off

I love this running gag. Such a good pay-off

Minako gets a chance to make up for being a complete nutter today by also transforming in front of everyone, thus proving that Eugeal has the worst luck in the universe. She attacked a Sailor Senshi, locked in three Sailor Senshi with her, and then had three more Sailor Senshi break in.

EVERYONE. EVERYONE IS A SAILOR SENSHI. THEY’RE ALL IN ON IT. Take a holiday, Eugeal. You need it.

A quick Venus Love-Me Chain busts the Fire Buster, and Eugeal is out of there in a hurry. Nice to see her coming into her own. I predict that we’ll see a lot more of her for the rest of the season, and that she definitely won’t die in a horrific car crash in two episodes.

"This has been the worst birthday ever."

“This has been the worst birthday ever.”

Although the battle is over, nothing can take back the revelations between Usagi, Haruka and Michiru. Evidently, their opinion of Sailor Moon has only been made worse when they realised how truly young and naive she really was.

Uranus and Neptune leave rudely as the other Senshi all share a complete what the fuck moment. I think this could have been better… but they’re saving the good material for next episode.

"Goddamn, even their shadows are better looking than we are..."

“Goddamn, even their shadows are better looking than we are…”

Haruka and Michiru discuss what it means for their identities to now be known by the other Senshi. Not much, as Michiru sees it. She doesn’t regret transforming to save their lives, and those of the girls.

Haruka and Michiru

And this sentimentality, this attachment, is left not on a positive note, but an incredibly unresolved and dangerous one. There’s a definite note of impending doom as a result of the strong policies Haruka and Michiru have adopted… and it’s soooo clooooose!

What a great ending. Perfectly sets up the mood for the next two episodes

What a great ending. Perfectly sets up the mood for the next two episodes

I love this episode so much. Not too much is deep, and they really avoid delving into the true identity reactions, but following around Minako in her crazy mission to get attacked is wonderful.


 

 

Episode Score: 5/5 (With the claw-game scene? Had to be a 5)

Monster Score: 5/5 (I love Doorknobudaa. So entertaining, even if she admitted how much she sucked at fighting.)

Final Thought: Did the writers really believe that vitamin drinks would be enough to combat severe anaemia…? It sounds like such a Japanese belief, too… Could totally see it.

NEXT TIME: THE SHIT HITS THE FAN, PEOPLE. Also, one of the most meaningful, romantic and tragic moments in anime history between Haruka and Michiru. Can’t wait.

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